Marc Canter, Broadband Mechanics on Open Social Networks, Threesomes and Cutting Through the Bull
Susan Bratton

Episode 21 - Marc Canter, Broadband Mechanics on Open Social Networks, Threesomes and Cutting Through the Bull

Fear and awe. I worried about this interview with Marc Canterof Broadband Mechanics for more than a day before the actual interview itself because Marc is bigger than life, exploding with opinions, very technical and impatient. Plus he berated my prep questions via email - gulp. I already knew he was "slightly more than a handful" (can you say understatement?) and had the potential to steam roll me hard and fast. Then the actual interview occurred on the day that Google announced its Open Social standard API layer. Wheeeee! Can you say "in over my head?" Good for Marc - he didn't cancel. He squeezed me in between cell calls from his twin boys, Kara Swisher (WSJ) and a date with his "Wife 2.0." So I did what I could for you dear listener, I got everything possible in 30 minutes about where the future of social media is headed according to one of the Identity Gang.



Marc Canter, Broadband Mechanics on Open Social Networks, Threesomes and Cutting Through the Bull

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Susan Bratton: Welcome to "Dishy Mix". I'm your host, Susan Bratton, and on todays show I'm excited and a little bit scared -because I have someone that I have been tracking since the eighties: Mr. Marc Canter. He is truly the father of multimedia. He is the inventer of MacroMind, MacroMind Director, and all of the authoring tools that truly are the progenitors of the web, and he is now in the absolute catbird seat as the founder of Broadband Mechanics. You're going to learn more about what that is when we talk about bringing social to software. You'll learn what open social networking is and why it's suddenly unbelievably important, although Marc has known for a long time that it is. Why he thinks the press is a joke, internationalism, cutting through the bullshit - which is his favourite thing to do, as you are about to find out. And perhaps we'll get to how Apple is the devil company.

[music continues to play]

Marc Canter: ... but from the end-users point of view, what they want to do is be able to move their stuff from Friendster over to MySpace, back to Facebook, go over to LinkedIn, bring something in from Six Apart, whatever, and move their stuff around, because that's what the end-users want. So that's what open social networking would be ...

Marc Canter: ... Right, the social graph is the actual list of your friends. You've got one, I've got one. We all have our own unique one. But we have one that is separate on each social network ...

Marc Canter: ... If MySpace can put up better music features that Facebook can't equal, then MySpace is going to continue to win...

Susan Bratton: ... your first answer was: "I get really bored with stupid questions like this, and I'm brutally honest. So please improve the quality of the questions immediately. [laughs] ...

[music stops]

Susan Bratton: Hi Marc!

Marc Canter: Hi

Susan Bratton: [laughs] I know you could barely sit still during the introduction. I'm glad you're finally on the show!

Marc Canter: Yeah. Yeah I am.

Susan Bratton: Yeah you are! So, let's clue people in on Broadband Mechanics. You're a bit of a behind-the-scenes company in that you do white label social networking and blogging platforms.

Marc Canter: Right, we don't offer a platform directly to end-users. We offer it through vendors. This month, Bell Canada and the Sacramento Kings and the Times of India, in India, will be launching platforms that we created for them.

Susan Bratton: So, you have a lot of competition in this "Facebook-in-a-box" concept. I looked on Techcrunch and there's over 30 companies that they have listed in this category. Everybody wants to offer social networking to their vertical community, right?

Marc Canter: It's beautiful. I love it.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, it's good to have competition, absolutely. So you stand for a couple of things. You stand for open social networking, and I think that differentiates you. Explain what that means to us as people in the media and Internet business, and also explain to us what that means as consumers of these web services.

Marc Canter: Right, well first of all let's start with the end-users, which matters most importantly. As I have travelled around the years and talked for years, I can't tell you how many times people have said: "Well, I've signed up for one network already. How come when I sign up for another network I have to enter all the same information in all over again?". Right? But if you look at it from a vendors point of view, up until today vendors have been able to say: "Well the whole point of our platform is to be able to have these users that we can then monetise and make money from". And that's what MySpace and Friendster and everyone has been all about.

Marc Canter: Facebook tried to change that a little bit and went: "Ok. We're going to let others come in and make money as well". But they only went 98% of the way and they still kept everybody limited to within their platform, to monetise. And again, that's fine. But from the end-users point of view, what they want to do is be able to move their stuff from Friendster over to MySpace, back to Facebook, go over to LinkedIn, bring something in from Six Apart, whatever, and move their stuff around, because that's what the end-users want. So that's what open social networking would be.

Susan Bratton: What I read about Broadband Mechanics was, is that you're essentially connecting social networks and blogging services together - which is a beautiful thing. There are so many people in my audience who are Marceters, and Marceting experts, who do a ton of blogging. They have Facebook pages. They want to connect that stuff together and the intertwingling of that is not happening yet. So is that what you're helping create through some open standards?

Marc Canter: Absolutely. One of the things... You know, RSS is a fine standard for what it does, which is: it allows you to subscribe and keep track of a constant stream of information. That information could be what the activities are that your friends are doing. It could be press releases, or blog posts. Or it could be what we see in a lot of other applications of RSS. But it just doesn't go far enough, alright?

Marc Canter: Now imagine that there are standards that could let us keep track of, say, the Facebook newsfeed - because you have all these changes of activities that go on with your friends. Well it turns out that Six Apart last week announced a thing called the "Relationship Stream". So that's an open standard now.

Marc Canter: Now today we have Google announcing the notion of sharing the canvasses, and the actual places that... In Facebook, in a proprietory way the outside application developers - the so called widget vendor - could take this Facebook app and plop it into a page. But now with Google's new OpenSocial standard you can do that across social networks, across vendors. So we're creating a rich set of possibilities that then companies like iLike, or RockYou, or Flickster, or all these kind of new apps, can come in and support multiple platforms. But that's only one kind of useage of it, right? Marceteers could use it. Brands could use it. Differend kinds of promotions could happen. The list could go on and on with all the possibilities. And that's just the beginning. That's like now. What happens another year from now, when a whole new generation of apps and services are born based upon the fact that there are open things out there to connect with?

Marc Canter: Now we have a web of centralised databases - of these giant walled gardens where the vendor is responsable for everything going on. But what happens when you have a distributed world, where the user can pick and choose which apps and services they want - to create their own custom suite of both fun and business driven solutions, things for the family, and things for your particular affinity... So instead of these giant centralised databases, there will be tens of thousands of independent apps and networks that all can mix and match in any way they see fit.

Susan Bratton: So then Google's OpenSocial standard is a development... what is it called? A development tool?

Marc Canter: An API layer.

Susan Bratton: API layer ...

Marc Canter: ... but it's just technology, alright. It's not so much that it competes with Facebook. Facebook would support it, just like MySpace, Bebo and Friendster and everyone else are supporting it.

Susan Bratton: So give me an example of how a Marceter might use this OpenSocial standard API to build some kind of an application that might work on... you pick the networks. Make one up for me and show me how it would work.

Marc Canter: When you say Marceter, that's a pretty broad word. So let me give you a few examples.

Susan Bratton: Good

Marc Canter: Do you remember this thing called Bud.TV ?

Susan Bratton: Yes I do

Marc Canter: Ok. Total failure, right? They spend 30 million dollars paying for tv commercials and they wanted people to go to their social network, which is simply a clone - very much a ghosttown - to MySpace. Now this is where Metcalfe's Law comes in: if you don't have a critical mass of people there, it's not going to be fun.

Marc Canter: So Bud spent all this money in tv commercials to try to get people to go to this empty ghosttown. Now what Bud should be doing is create widgets and modules that... in the Google world they call them containers, and over in the MySpace and Bebo they call them other things. And LinkedIn thinks of it in one way, and Six Apart thinks of it as something else...

Marc Canter: But Bud goes with this big fat pocketbook and says: "Ok, dudes. We want you to carry these widgets on your platforms. We want to get top priority in your widget directory" - because both Friendster and MySpace already announced it: "widget directories". It's like placement of a cellphone on the deck of different apps that are available: the cellphone only has so many apps that are available, and people partake for placement.

Marc Canter: But budweiser pays to get good placement, and that placement is solely for this Super Bowl promo. And the Super Bowl promo then has users clicking on the thing, which sends them over to Bud.TV to bla, bla bla... But all of a sudden this widget is available on all the social networks. They each adapt them, and use them in their own way. The social networks get paid by Bud to carry them. Meanwhile, the end-user is appointed a 5,000$ prize, and a 50,000$ prize, you know - it's a traditional promo. That's one example. Right now, Bud would have to go to each of those folks, to beg them... it's just ugly.

Susan Bratton: Got it. That was really helpful. I want to talk about another aspect of social networking as well. You mentioned the "Relationship Stream". We've heard Facebook's version of it, which is the "social graph".

Marc Canter: Facebook's version of it is called: "The News Feed".

Susan Bratton: Oh, ok, so that's the difference between those. The "News Feed" is the relationship stream...

Marc Canter: Right. The "social graph" is the actual list of your friends.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Marc Canter: You've got one, I've got one. We all have our own unique one. But we have one that is separate on each social network.

Susan Bratton: Right

Marc Canter: Now, Brad Fitzpatrick and David Recordon put out a manifesto over the summer which said: come and take all these social graphs, take them out of the control of Facebook - and everyone else - and put them into a shared centralised server. It's a pretty radical proposal...

Susan Bratton: ... do you think it could be possible? ...

Marc Canter: (continues) Now Google is now putting out another kind of technology. They're saying: Hey let's now make a system software layer that enables social networks and application vendors to mix-and-match and share their apps and services. But none of this stuff replaces, for instance what is called OpenID, which is the authentication layer, so we can make sure (you are) who you are. So you're not spamming us, and for privacy... These are all pieces of the puzzle, but we still don't even have all the pieces yet.

Susan Bratton: I want to ask you about something that rivetted me when I first saw it, and how we can possibly get back to that. Do you remember when Spoke Software launched?

Marc Canter: Yes

Susan Bratton: And do you remember that they had this visualisation. You would let it crawl your Outlook, or whatever you use - your address book - and it would create a three dimensional... well a two-dimensional graph that was active. And because it crawled Outlook it not only got your contacts but it looked at recency and frequency, and had an algorithm that overlayed all of that to your database. It would tell you who you were the closest to, in that you either contact them for a really long time, or all the time, and who you had occasional connections to, and would display that in a scatter-chart.

Marc Canter: Right.

Susan Bratton: Now I see some widgets in Facebook that are looking like they might get to that, but it's that same problem: it's just your 500 friends in Facebook, not the 2,500 in LinkedIn, and the 10,000 in your adress book, and all that kind of stuff... How can we get closer to using our social graph as a tool for understanding who we are touching, who we are connecting to, and in what places?

Marc Canter: You know this really gives us an opportunity to see how vendors will be able to differentiate themselves. If everything else is in common - the personal private pages, the messages, the groups... the standard features of every social network - I think we're going to quickly see that particular social networks are going to be able to differentiate themselves based upon what they're actually offering as a value-added differentiation. So you bring up the issue of visualisation, and analytics of relationships: what to do with that social graph information. And if LinkedIn doesn't do the right thing, but XING does - or one of these other business-orientated sites - then they're going to win more customers. But if MySpace can put up better music features that Facebook can't equal, then MySpace is going to continue to win, right? So you're going to see that differentiation becomes an important factor because if everything else is common - if 80% is common - then it's the 20% that's not in common that becomes the differentiating factor.

Susan Bratton: So when are we going to have portability between social networks of our content?

Marc Canter: Well right now I can tell you that Dick Hardt of SXIP Networks have contributed a technology they call "the atribute exchange" into the OpenID standard. So officially, part of OpenID 2 is "the attribute exchange". Now the problem has been that Dick Hardt is not Google. So you see Google snap their fingers, and the entire industry lined up and saluted and said: "Yes, sir, mr. Google, sir!", whereas Dick Hardt, for a year now, has been plugging this standard, and almost nobody has picked it up and supported it. So the technology is there and waiting. Now – you interrupted me in the middle of a blog post – I'm about to post something that says: “How to maintain compatability with open social”. Just because you say you're going to support it doesn't actually mean that you will. Or that you will do it the right way. So I'm asking: will Google have compatibility labs, or testing labs? You're talking about interlock between vendors, and these vendors implementing it in their own ways. How do you make sure it all works? If you adhere to the OpenSocial standard then we should have the interrupts. So Flickster is showing off, using this API: they've already launched one app inside of MySpace. So, as of today, those API's are working.

Susan Bratton: Ok

Marc Canter: Now the question is: could a Flickster user who has built up a bunch of friends over on Facebook, move those over and leverage those on MySpace, or vice-versa.

Susan Bratton: And can they?

Marc Canter: Well, honey, it's only like thursday afternoon... give me a break.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, but baby, you're the visionary.

Marc Canter: The thing hasn't even been announced until tonight. This is a plea roll...

Susan Bratton: But we assume you've already thought all this through!

Marc Canter: Well, we did. We did an experiment back in 2004 called the FOAFnet, we had Ecademy and Tribe using a standard using a standard called FOAF - "Friend Of A Friend". And what happened was that we didn't have security. We didn't have privacy. Anyone could take my FOAF file and pretend like they were me. So that's about when OpenID came along, and that's also when I met Dick Hardt. We've been working for three years to get this far, and we're not done either. When you said, to guide in: “You've got Twitter, and that can do like presence and management. Well how come that's not compatible with my AIM or my Skype?”

Susan Bratton: Right

Marc Canter: So there are all these areas that we have to maintain compatibility with. But at least... when you have Google, what we're seeing is a domino effect right now. Google is triggering an entire rupture of the entire landscape - as we speak. So companies like MySpace and Facebook, which are 100% based upon locking in the social graph, have suddenly found a company that, you know... their stock price is breaking 700 right now!

Susan Bratton: I know!

Marc Canter: So what happens is, is... this doesn't affect Google's bottom-line. But this is fucking with Facebook! See: Facebook only went 98% of the way. They were fortunate. They had identified their achilles heel. And then all these other vendors are just lining up, eating the red pill.

Susan Bratton: [laughing]

Marc Canter: This is as we speak.

Susan Bratton: We're going to go to a commercial break. And when we come back I want a couple of things from you. I want to talk about your perspective on the press - which is not good. And I want to talk about some of the people and the things in the industry you think are fascinating and important for us, because we want to know about that. And I also want to talk about threesomes, which is apparantly your favourite guilty pleasure.

Marc Canter: Oh yeah.

Susan Bratton: So stay tuned, everyone. You're listening to Marc Canter of Broadband Mechanics - the father of multimedia, and now the father of social networking. We will be right back. I'm your host Susan Bratton. Stay tuned.

[commercial break]

Susan Bratton: We're back. And it's Marc Canter, from Broadband Mechanics, and we're talking about social networking. But we're going to segway to a question that I asked when I was getting ready to talk to Marc. I sent him a bunch of questions. His first answer was... [laughs]. You're mean, Marc! I have to read this verbatim. I sent you this list of questions that I custom created for you.

Marc Canter: Yeah, uh-uh

Susan Bratton: And my first question was: "Tell me three things that we would be surprised to know about you". Because I knew the opera singer thing, and a couple of others. I knew the father of multimedia! But your first answer was: "I get really bored with stupid questions like this and I'm brutally honest, so please improve the quality of the questions immediately." [laughing]

Marc Canter: [laughs]

Susan Bratton: Then he answered the damn question anyway. You were just like... getting me. You were just... getting me! I can handle it!

Marc Canter: There you go. It worked.

Susan Bratton: So here's what I want to know. One of the things that I didn't ask you, that I should have, was that you think the press is a joke. Tell me why you think that.

Marc Canter: Well because they report lies, they propagate lies, and they're just tools of the system. I was just in New York City for "The Future of Business Media", and they had up on lunch, the lunch speaker guy, a guy named Neil Cavuto. He's a press guy at Fox Business news. And he goes on and on about how they want to be the mainstream television channel for business news. So, hey, I asked some questions: "Well, dude, if you're mainstream, how come you're not reporting on the business of war? A lot of money is made from war. Our president can't figure out how to spend 30 billion on insuring children, but he can run up a trillion dollar debt.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Marc Canter: Right, so this is a perfect example where these people actually think they're reporting the truth, and they're honest and transparant, but yet they're just pawns of the system. And as you dive down into the technology business, you see the same thing. Very often, press people will never write a bad review of a sponsors product. It might seem really obvious, but they don't! And then we drill down even further into bloggers who want to use the same formula to create a show that is more or less consistent. Again, I can't blame you for that. Your hardest challenge is: who am I talking to? Am I talking to people who actually know something about the technology, and the subtle differences? Or people who are just stock traders, looking at what stock is going up? - I'll make it simple for you: Google is going up, ok!

Susan Bratton: Yeah

Marc Canter: But probably Yahoo will go up too. Is Facebook worth 15 billion dollars? I don't think so, but that's ok.

Susan Bratton: Yeah. What is your estimate of when the technovelty of Facebook will wear off? Do you want to give me a month, or...

Marc Canter: Oh, no, no. It's the opposite. Instead of trying to take your social networking paradigm, which is fundamentally your dating paradigm, right. What we're going to do is: we're going to start taking these pure social features (and) we're going to insert them into intranets, productivity software, legacy apps. Intermittently, social will be everywhere. So instead of trying to use the user interface called social networking... let me give you an example. We have a site going live with Bell Canada. They have a thing where you buy movies. So, right now - before us - you go to their site, you buy a movie and there's the movie's information and you buy the movie, and that's it. But what we're doing is bringing social community features into the movie-buying process. So I can first of all leave reviews, and ratings and comments but I can also declare myself a "friend" of a movie, and find other people who are "friends" of the movie. I can join groups about the movie, you see?

Susan Bratton: M-hm.

Marc Canter: So I think that social nets are going to be applied, whether it's just for privately for businesspeople, for their employees and contractors, or whether it's for non-profits, or governments... I think every government around the world will be offering these software! We're all so locked into these giant centralised social networking brands. Well one thing we see is that in every country around the world there's some dominant player. In Japan it's Mixi, in Korea it's Cyworld, in Holland it's Hyves. Right? So every country has their own local version. But again, this stuff keeps growing more and more... I mean... what software is not about people?

Susan Bratton: That still begs the question then. I feel that this is such a sophmoric question that you're going to get jiggy with me, but I'm going to ask it anyway because I honestly don't know. So that means someone else that's listening might not know it either... When are we going to get sick, as a consumer, of giving up our personal information and littering it across the web to the point where we have no control, because we can't keep track of it all. When are we going to say: "I'm not going to be your fucking friend on the movie site because, dude, I've got too much stuff elsewhere!"

Marc Canter: What you're commenting on is that each of these invites, and that each of these social media products, are their own standalone islands.

Susan Bratton: Right, and it sucks you a little bit drier every time you give. It's like you're tapping a vein, and the vein runs dry.

Marc Canter: Well, as long as there's not a global universal one. If everyone was participating in the same one, it wouldn't matter because you'd only have to join in one place, and acknowledge in one place, and find out (about) status and updates in one place.

Susan Bratton: Right

Marc Canter: And I think you can put a change in the landscape. It allows these new apps, and these new vendors, to participate. Whereas nowadays, you're pretty much locked out. One thing you have to keep in mind is that humans are migratory beasts.

Susan Bratton: Well I was just thinking of the word: stampeding. People have been stampeding from one app, to the next, and to the next.

Marc Canter: So wouldn't we rather graze, and gradually evolve at our own pace?

Susan Bratton: Yes. Yes.

Marc Canter: So to do that, well... first of all, understand that the way a stampede works is that some young hottie, with very tight dress on, exposing her cleavage, is the one leading the run.

Susan Bratton: Tila Tequila.

Marc Canter: So for those people who are into that, who like tight asses, please do. Go for the bubble butt. But not only are there older people, but people who have different criteria for judgement. There's just a lot of different ways to see society. So again the point is: the thing that is really annoying is the fact that you go into these places, and they're ghosttowns. There's nobody there, and there's no critical mass. The entrepreneur has dreamed up this app and service, but until he has a critical install base, it doesn't work. Now, sometimes it might just be 50 people. Like there are many apps and services that I would like to do here, in Wallnut Creek California that, as long as I had 50 people here in Wallnut Creek, it would work. Right? But I don't have that.

Susan Bratton: Yep

Marc Canter: But if we looked at the overlap of all these social networks, and we sort it by geographic area, maybe we would be able to get that critical mass.

Susan Bratton: So. I understand the answer. A part of it is that it takes time, and a part of it is the portability of our identities, and the management of our identities. And those two things will evolve.

Marc Canter: You're talking about the spam, right. And so the other thing I didn't say is that users have be able to control what goes into their inbox, as well as that people have to be smarter about how they're spamming people. Another example: in Facebook, some enthusiastic Marceteer will go and create this group on this particular subject, spam everybody, get all their friends to join, and then when they're all dressed up, and ready to party - there's nothing to do. So that's a classic problem we have with social networking too. That even the Facebook groups right now are woefully shy and absent of actual activity that go on. And this is what I call activity-based computing. And within the next few years we'll have these kind of turn-key ways to do a book club, a birthday party, a fundraiser, a promo, run a sales meeting. A combination of five or ten different activities and tasks that get packaged up in a nice simple way so some lady can go to the sales meeting, hit the button, answer some questions and automatically she has the catering people lined up, the flowers, the agenda has been printed up. Little name-badges have been printed out, and we've got a whole speakers itenerary. So that would be an example of an activity-based thing. So, again, the key thing is to enable entrepreneurs to participate with the social graph, with all these social environments, so that if Facebook can't figure it out, and if MySpace can't figure it out, I'm sure there are plenty of people who will.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely. Well, I really appreciate you giving us such a macro-view, mr. MacroMind, of all of this. It's helpful for me, and I know it will be helpful for others. It's a lot to keep track of. So thank you. You've netted out a lot on this show.

Marc Canter: No problem.

Susan Bratton: We have about five minutes left, and I'd really like to segway into sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Marc Canter: Alright

Susan Bratton: So let's see... I can't decide whether we should do sex or drugs first. Which do you choose?

Marc Canter: Well let's just start with reggae. Because reggae represents the right kind of drugs. I don't condone white pills, or anything synthetic. But I'm a "legalize mariuana" advocate. I'd much rather smoke a joint than drink alcohol.

Susan Bratton: Perfect. So tell me what it means to be a "legalize mariuana" advocate.

Marc Canter: Well, it means I try to stay in the state of California as much I can [laughing]. Or Amsterdam.

Susan Bratton: Do you have your medical mariuana license?

Marc Canter: I have a card, yeah.

Susan Bratton: How do you find that, as an experience?

Marc Canter: Ok. I happen to have lots of body ailments, so it's actually legal for me to do that. But the key thing is to voice it as a conversation. To bring it up in the every-day discussion, from a political point of view. Here was this president who was elected on the rights of the States. He was a governor of the state of Texas. But then as soon as he became a federal guy, all of a sudden the feds come over to our state and tell us how to run things. - I do like threesomes, though. I should point that out.

Susan Bratton: So we're moving on to sex. Although I wanted to say one thing about the mariuana laws. A lot of people who are listening aren't Californian, and don't understand how great we have it. In that... it's 90$ and you're out the door, if you have a reasonable complaint, to get your medical mariuana licens.

Marc Canter: ... or you can reasonably find a friend who does.

Susan Bratton: And we have mariuana bars here where you can just go in, and choose from a selection of 50, 100 different kinds of mariuana.

Marc Canter: Right. And if these people don't want to come to California they can go to a place called Amsterdam.

Susan Bratton: Exactly. Oh I love it, Amsterdam. And so, it really is an amazing thing. And I'm not aware... I don't think it's available, as it is here, anywhere else. There is no other state that has...

Marc Canter: No, nothing like that. They do have some programs in, I believe, New Mexico that are starting. I should also point out that in Italy, and Switzerland, and Portugal, they're changing the laws. And in the UK, mariuana is rated a level 3, where they basically just give you a traffic ticket.

Susan Bratton: Right

Marc Canter: So, the counsil now has gone ahead to actually answer the problem (of) how does this AIDS-suffering patient, who is in pain all the time, actually find some mariuana. And so you have an echo-system. You have people legal to grow, etc.

Susan Bratton: And do you have any recommendations for anyone who would like to get their mariuana license, and go to one of these bars. Any particular strains that you recommend, or any personal favorites?

Marc Canter: No, no. Let's go talk threesomes. Because I don't know if any of you know but Susan is a total hottie.

Susan Bratton: [laughing] Thank you. I appreciate that. So threesomes are your favorite?

Marc Canter: Well, I'm on my second marriage. And I think anyone who has gone through the hell of a first marriage and ends in divorce, wants to make sure that the person they marry is in sync with them on their sexuality.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely.

Marc Canter: And so I... I'm not advocating it for everybody, that everybody should want to do that... but I think there's a real difference between sex and love, and that having sex with beautiful people is great. And, however you combine the threesome - in any combination. I think the reason why I'm pretty famous for that is that orkut, early on, put sexual preference on, and added threesomes as an option. Now it happened to coincide with the fact that I was the number one user on orkut. I had the most friends, the most VIP's. Of the six categories I was number one in three categories, and Joi Ito was number one in the other three categories. So we learnt how to game the system. And one of the ways I did that was by being a semi-public person who admitted that he likes threesomes. It actually was just open marriage. Basically: my wife's too tired. She wouldn't mind me ravishing your body.

Susan Bratton: Uhuh.

Marc Canter: You might want to participate.

Susan Bratton: And there was so much allure in that on orkut, that you got a reputation for it. And it drew people to you because it was sensational.

Marc Canter: And that's the idea of honesty and transparancy, right. And blogging in general. I actually was honest. I already had my fifteen minutes, you know... I'm done with that.

Susan Bratton: You're a little untouchable, compared to other people. And I don't think it's that you've already had your fifteen minutes. You're a genius, and you're crazy and it's a beautiful combination. And it makes you untouchable. You can do whatever you want.

Marc Canter: Today is a special day. It's like: I so knew that this day would come.

Susan Bratton: Yeah

Marc Canter: And now this is how to monetise it, and leverage it for my company. So all of my clients: The Sacramento King, Bell Canada, the Times of India, Radio 1. They're now going to benefit from this, and of course that would be why others would want to work with us. Because we offer cutting edge, state-of-the-art stuff. And guess what? We're not done yet! You stick with Broadway Mechanics, and Marc Canter ...

Susan Bratton: [starts laughing]

Marc Canter: ... and we guarantee that we'll keep our ear to the rail, and we'll know what's going on. What's coming down the pike for the next 20 or 30 years.

Susan Bratton: Now, I'm just going to cut that section out of the show and run it as a commercial...

Marc Canter: Alright... [laughs]

Susan Bratton: ... that'll be okay with you, right? I can just run that against the entire personallifemedia network for you, just as is. I'll put a little music intro, a little music outro. How about reggae?

Marc Canter: Perfect.

Susan Bratton: Ok, good. I always like to leave the show, and we're running long but I don't care because I'm having a good time with you. I always like to leave the show on an aspirational theme. And I want to take the focus off you, and on to somebody else. I want to look at a couple of people through your filter, through the Marc Canter lens.

Marc Canter: Alright

Susan Bratton: One of the question I asked you was to tell me your opinion on who the three most important players in the industry are. People, not companies. And you said: Dave Winer, Robert Scoble and Mary Hodder. And I'd like you to tell us why - and briefly because this is the end of the show - why those people are the most important people in the industry.

Marc Canter: Well Dave Winer invented RSS, at least one of the major versions of it. And he invented something called XML-RPC, and Userland, Frontier. He was the CEO of a company called "Living Videotext", and they were really the folks credited with doing outlining. So Dave has a 30 year career where he has proven, over and over again, that he does cutting-edge state-of-the-art stuff, understands the technology innards and what it takes to develop new kinds of tools and technology. And by the way, in the case of RSS, gave it away for free! Alright? So this is an incredibly important person. He's not the only guy out there doing this, but he is one of the kind of people that helped define the web. I mean: he was one of the original bloggers! The guy is just a genius.

Susan Bratton. Nice. I'd liken him to you, Marc.

Marc Canter: Well, yeah. He, and I, and a guy named Steve Gillmor are called the three crazy uncles, by valleywag.

Susan Bratton: Oh really? Ok.

Marc Canter: [laughs]

Susan Bratton: [laughs]

Marc Canter: And we're often confused to be brothers, too, by the way.

Susan Bratton: [laughs]. But you're uncles, instead.

Marc Canter: But he doesn't smoke dope anymore, because he had a heart-attack.

Susan Bratton: Who, Steve or Dave?

Marc Canter: Dave. And Steve stopped smoking in the eighties, it was all part of his AA program. So I'm the last standing hippie.

Susan Bratton: Well, you're not, actually. There's plenty out there.

Marc Canter: I'm a little too young to be a hippie, and I'm too old to be a yuppie. I'm right in the middle.

Susan Bratton: How old are you?

Marc Canter: 50

Susan Bratton: Oh, you just turned 50?

Marc Canter: But I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Susan Bratton: ... a lover, not a fighter. And what about Robert Scoble?

Marc Canter: Robert Schobel defines a new generation of both influencers and content-generators. He was literally the only blogger at the press conference today who got the exclusive story on MySpace, Six Apart and Bebo joining the alliance. I think this is really the domino effect, the cards... rolling here. This is really hot. Robert is right at the epicenter of all that. He's one of the fathers of this company called PodText, and I think you're going to be seeing a lot more coming out of Robert over the next few years. And he wrote this book called "Naked Conversation" which I use as the number one book to be able to clue people in on this new age of the blogosphere, and how to be transparant and honest, and how to use blogging to create a conversation between the vendors and the customers.

Susan Bratton: And Robert has been on "Dishy Mix" in the past, so anybody listening who wants to hear that interview, they can get to know more about Robert. And then tell me about Mary Hodder. Mary and I were on the same session at the Web 2.0 summit a couple of weeks ago, and I had the pleasure of experiencing her live and in person. So tell us why you chose Mary?

Marc Canter: Well, yeah. As I was saying this, I thought that three is not enough. I would have mentioned Doc Searls and others, but I also thought it was really important to mention a woman.

Susan Bratton: Yep

Marc Canter: So I would call Mary probably the leading, smartest woman in our industry today. She has a company called Dabble, which is a video aggregator. So, for instance, my company Broadband Mechanics will be aggregating the aggregators, because I don't need to do all the stuff that Mary is doing. She's doing it so well. All I have to do is support her, and I get all the benefit of her platform, right? So she totally groks the open standards and the user-centric stuff. She and I are one of the founders of the Identity Gang, which Doc Searls is involved with as well. And let me give you an example of how important Mary is. Joseph Smarr and myself helped write up something we called "The Bill of Rights for Users of Social Media". We talked about the inherent rights of an individual. We more or less were attacking Facebook and their terms of service, which says that no Facebook data can be shared by anybody. It's like they're acting like they own the data. Now Mary has her product, and the terms of product of her product, she was so moved by the bill of rights that she says to go to her TOS, or what they call the EULA, the end user license agreement. And she decided to change the terms of the deal. Now the deal is that, when you come to Dabble the end-users control and own their own data. And they own the copyright. And all they're giving to Dabble is a non-exclusive license to the data. So for the first time ever, a vendor has completely flipped it, assuming that the user owns everything. So when you click on Mary's little checkbox, when you join, you're saying: "Yes, you get to own all the data, but gee... I will give you the non-exclusive rights back to Mary". But this is what leadership is all about. This is putting your money where your mouth is and really showing the world what is the right way that vendors should interact with their customers.

Susan Bratton: I want to ask you one last question, even though I promised that that was the last one. One of the things I asked you is: what advice you would give women CEO's. And since we're ending with Mary. You... I'll let you answer.

Marc Canter: What advice?

Susan Bratton: What advice would you give women CEO's?

Marc Canter: Wow. [laughs]. And this is the last question?

Susan Bratton: I swear.

Marc Canter: Well, in one sense I would say: "Don't act like a man". What's ugly is to see these women, acting like men, and they've decided they have to be tough, or whatever it is that goes through their head. The point is that women are different beings, and they consider their employees and their customers usually much more than men do. They understand the inter-human relationships that happen (in order) to be succesful in your companies, (with) your people. And I think that they bring a unique, fresh outlook on doing business, which is like to go to blog her, and try to support women wherever I can. Without being too sexist, and all of that, you know... I really enjoy beautiful women. I enjoy ugly women too, but, I'm a man and I'm not going to hide the fact that I have a penis. So when some beautiful woman comes into the room, of course I'm going to be affected by it. At that point, I'm acting prejudiced because I think: "ok, she's a beautiful woman". Now, prove to me that I should care!

Susan Bratton: Yeah

Marc Canter: Nothing more intense than when someone like Mary opens their mouth and it's like: "Oh my God. Double pleasure!"

Susan Bratton: Yeah, right. I think it's so great now to see beautiful, smart women in business. It's a real pleasure and an honor to see that happen now.

Marc Canter: We can't forget the ugly women too. I mean... we love them all.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely. (singing) We love them all! It's all happy!

Marc Canter: Now, when you were saying that you enjoyed being with me, and "we love them all" and so, like we said we like the threesomes... let's try to pull out our calculator here and figure out what that means. Today is my date night.

Susan Bratton: Well, you know what? Tonight is my date night...

Marc Canter: [laughs]

Susan Bratton: ... and I'm going out with my husband.

Marc Canter: And I'm going out with my wife.

Susan Bratton: [laughs] My daughter is going to the Hanna-Montana concert.

Marc Canter: And my son just called to say he can make the rainmaker speech, at the rainmaker theater, next sunday. ECT.

Susan Bratton: [laughs] So I think life goes on. Everything's good. And I am so happy you kept your commitment to me to come on the show. On such a big day in the world of Broadband Mechanics.

Marc Canter: Go to my site at - right. And you'll see what I'm posting right now, about this. In fact, about this. In fact I'll mention that I just concluded this interview to make it all transparant and honest.

Susan Bratton: Oh I love the deep authenticity with which you are bringing your blogging. Thank you so much.

Marc Canter: Alright.

Susan: Alright, love. I'll talk to you soon. This was your host, Susan Bratton. You were listening to Marc Canter of Broadband Mechanics. I hope it helped you figure out something about social media, and God knows what else. Have a great day and thanks for tuning in. This was your host, Susan Bratton.


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